Outcome of depressive and anxiety disorders among young adults: Results from the Longitudinal Finnish Health 2011 Study

Nord J Psychiatry. 2018 Apr;72(3):205-213. doi: 10.1080/08039488.2017.1418429. Epub 2017 Dec 25.


Purpose of the study: We investigated the outcomes and outcome predictors of depressive and anxiety disorders in a general population sample of young adults with a lifetime history of these disorders.

Materials and methods: The study sample was derived from a nationally representative two-stage cluster sample of Finns aged 19-34 years. The original study was carried out in 2003-2005, and the follow-up in 2011. We investigated participants diagnosed with a depressive or anxiety disorder based on a SCID interview (excluding those with only a single specific phobia) (DAX-group, N = 181). The control group included those with no DSM-IV- diagnosis (N = 290). They were followed up with the M-CIDI interview assessing 12-month depressive and anxiety disorders in 2011.

Results: In 2011, 22.8% of the DAX-group was diagnosed with a depressive or anxiety disorder compared to 9.8% of the control group. Education was lower and quality of life worse in the DAX-group than in the control group. Those participants of the DAX-group who received a diagnosis in 2011 had poorer quality of life than those in remission, which emphasizes the influence of a current disorder on the quality of life. Higher score in the Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) at baseline predicted poorer quality of life in 2011.

Conclusions: Thus, depressive and anxiety disorders were persistent/recurrent in one quarter of participants, significantly affecting education and quality of life. Young adults with these disorders need support to achieve their academic goals.

Keywords: Epidemiology; follow-up study; mental disorder; prognosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult